Chapter 7: The Description Of Louthian, Striueling, Menteth, Calidon Wood, Bougewall, Gareoth, With The Notable Cities, Castels, And Flouds Thereof.
ON the south of the Forth lieth Louthian, so called of Lothe or Loth, one of the
kings of the Piets, it was sometime named Pictland; but now it is parcell of the Scotish
kingdome, & thereto for bountie of soile is not inferiour to anie region of Scotland. In
Louthian are manie abbeies, castels and townes, as Hadinton, Dunbar, Northberwijc and
Leith: but Edenburgh passeth them all, as well in policie of regiment as in forme of building and wisedome, and riches of the inhabitants: therein also is the castell of Maddens, remembred by the most renowmed authors, & also the kings chiefe palace, the which tripleth the renowme of the foresaid citie. Not farre from thence moreouer is a certeine oilie
spring, which riseth out of the ground in such abundance, that the more is caried from
thence, the more is restored: and the people are persuaded hereof, that it is verie medicinable
against all cankers and skalls.
Not farre from the mouth of Forth is the castell of Dunbar, which by naturall situation and
industrie of man is now become one of the cheefe holds in Albion. It was sometimes the
principall house apperteining to the earles of March: and there hard by is a towne of the same
name, wherein is a rich abbeie or colledge of canons founded by those earles. Next vnto
Louthian lieth Mers, whereof I haue spoken alreadie, but we will now go vp higher into the
land. Neerest vnto Mers therefore lieth Teuidale, and aboue it is Twedale: next vnto Twedale is Druisdale, Walcopdale, Douglassedale, and Cliddisdale, and all these are such names
as the riuers haue that run along their bottoms. The principall towne of Cliddisdale is Glasco
the archbishops sée, wherein is a notable church erected in the honor of saint Mongow, and
builded with great magnificence. In Glasco also is a noble vniuersitie, where the liberall
arts and sciences are verie zelouslie taught.
In this region moreouer is a verie rich mine of gold, and another of azure, the commoditie of
which later is reaped with small trauell. There are sometimes found diuers pretious stones
also, as rubies and diamonds. Certes this mine was disclosed in the time of Iames the fourth,
who would no doubt haue brought it to full perfection, if he had longer liued, whereas now
little profit redoundeth thereby to the common wealth, bicause it is either vtterlie neglected,
or not very much regarded. North of Glasco lieth Menteith, and Striueling shire, bordering vpon Argile and Lennox. In Striueling shire is the towne of Striueling, and aboue it is
the castell of Striueling, which was sometime called the dolorous mounteine. At this towne
also began the great Calidon wood, which ran through Menteith and Stratherne, to Atholl and
Lochquhaber, as Ptolome writeth in his first table.
In this wood were somtime white buls with shackt heares and curled manes like fierce
lions, otherwise they were like vnto the tame, neuerthelesse so wild and sauage, that they would
neuer be made familiar, nor fast of any hearbe or grasse that mans hand had once touched, after manie daies. Being taken also by the industrie of man (which was very hard to doo) they
would refuse all sustenance, & starue themselues to death. Assoone as any did inuade them,
they would rush vpon him with great violence, and beare him to the earth; as for dogs,
nets, or any kind of weapon they feared not, neither cared for any maner of engine.
It is said that Robert Bruze after his coronation did hunt one of these buls in the foresaid wood, being accompanied but with a small traine, in which voiage he escaped narowlie
with his life. For after the beast felt himselfe sore wounded by the hunters, he rushed vpon
the king, who hauing now no weapon left in his hand wherewith to defend himselfe, he had
suerlie perished if rescue had not come: howbeit in this distresse one came running vnto him,
who ouerthrew the bull by plaine force, and held him down till the hunters came that killed
him outright. For this valiant act also the king indued the aforesaid partie with great possessions, and his linage is to this daie called of the Turnebuls, bicause he ouerturned the beast,
and saued the kings life, by such great prowesse and manhood. Certes the flesh of these
beasts were reputed in old time as a most delicate food, and onlie meate for the nobilitie,
notwithstanding that it be verie full of sinews and gristles, whereat some delicat féeders doo
often take offense. In times past also they were bred in many places of the Calidon, but now
they be all consumed by the gluttonie of the inhabitants, so that none of them are left, but
onlie in Comerland.
On the east side of Menteith lieth Stratherne, & bordereth also vpon Fife. Through the
vallies likewise of this region runneth the water of Ern, that falleth into Tay. This is
moreouer worthie to be noted, that not foure miles from the confluence of Ern and Tay,
there is a stone of small quantitie, and yet of great woonder, for in what place soeuer it be
laid, it will not be remooued from thence by manuall practise, art, or engine, & yet one
man may so soone moue it as an hundred. On the other side of Tay beyond Angus and
Gowray lieth Stermond, a region plentifullie indued both with grasse and corne. Not
farre from Stermond is Athole, wherein are manie noble vallies and riuers full of fish, as pikes,
lamperns, &c. The soile there also is so bountifull, that it yéeldeth corne in maner without
any tillage. There is likewise therein a towne called Lud, whose féelds are so plentious, that
(if they be well tilled and dressed) they will yéeld great store of barlie without any sowing of
seed. Howbeit, as this is in that part of the region often verified, so in other there is a contranrious disposition to be found in the earth, which turneth wheat soone into good and perfect
rie, the like wherof I heare to be not farre from Luke, & in the countries thereabouts.
West of Buchquhane and Boene lieth Bostgewell and Gareoth, very plentifull soiles both
for grasse and corne. In Gareoth also is an hill called Doundore, that is to saie, the golden
mounteine: for the shéepe that féed thereon are yellow, and their téeth of the same hew,
resembling burnished gold. Their flesh moreouer is red as it were tinged with saffron, and
so is their wooll much after the same maner. There is furthermore in the same region, an
heape of stones lieng togither in maner of a crown which yéeld a sound when one of them is
stricken as if it were a bell. Some are of the opinion, that one idoll temple or other stood
heretofore in that place, while the Scotish nation was addicted to the worshipping of diuels.
Many other regions are in Scotland, as Bradalbane, Strabraun, and Badzenoth, with diuers
small territories and flouds, howbeit they are not so notable as those which we haue alreadie
touched, and therefore I thinke it but follie to deale any further with them.